Second GCHERA World Agriculture Prize Awarded in Nanjing Agricultural University
September 22,2014

From Sep.20th to 22nd, the GCHERA 2014 World Dialogue & World Agriculture Prize Award Ceremony was held in Nanjing Agricultural University. More than 100 experts and university leaders from 12 countries gathered in NAU to discuss global higher education of agriculture and life sciences. Professor Paul Vlek (Paul L. G. Vlek) became the second winner of WAP for his 40 years’ outstanding achievements in the sustainable use of natural resources.

The awarding ceremony was officially held on Sep. 20th. NAU President Zhou Guanghong chaired the ceremony and delivered a speech. He introduced the purpose for NAU and GCHERA (Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences) to set up the World Agriculture Prize, which is “to encourage the global development of the mission of higher education institutions in education, research and innovation in the agricultural and life sciences by recognizing the distinguished contribution of an individual to this mission”.

John Kennelly, President of GCHERA, announced Professor Paul Vlek from the University of Bonn as the World Agriculture Prize Laureate. Professor Vlek was awarded for his remarkable achievement in developing global collaborative partnerships and being an inspiration to generations of students and researchers in Germany and worldwide.

In the acceptance speech, Professor Vlek pointed out that “agriculture is a complex socio-ecological endeavour with many trade-offs. To better guide our land-stewards (farmers) and policymakers, the next generation of agricultural scientists must be trained in the modern tools of complexity science and be able to work across disciplines and with multiple partners and stakeholders.”

Due to climate change and land degradation, world food security is becoming a major challenge for the education and research of agricultural sciences. Professor Paul Vlek, during his work in West Africa, contributed a great deal in training and education to improve the capability for African countries to cope with the complex challenges. He said contemporary agricultural scientists must have the ability of inter-disciplinary research, and must promote international cooperation.

The World Agriculture Prize was set up in 2012 during the 110th anniversary of NAU by GCHERA. This award is to recognize scholars who made great contributions on education, research, and extension in global agriculture and life sciences to encourage more scientists to devote themselves to the cooperation and innovation of this field.